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‘Very unhealthy’ smoke over the Palouse – where it came from

A mask-wearing cyclist moves alongside a hazy WIlson Road Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 26, in Pullman.
A mask-wearing cyclist moves alongside a hazy WIlson Road Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 26, in Pullman.

PULLMAN, Wash. – The thick, gray veil of smoke draped over the Palouse that ratcheted up the smoke advisory to “very unhealthy” appears to have drifted from a cluster of wildfires burning in the Clearwater region of Idaho, according to a Washington State University meteorologist.

“Much of the smoke was carried by winds from Idaho fires to the east,” said Nic Loyd, after analyzing weather and air-quality data including information garnered from WSU’s Lab for Atmospheric Research (see http://lar.wsu.edu/airpact/gmap/ap4smoke.html).

“The Palouse area is directly in the smoke’s path,” he said. “While air quality has been bad in general for many communities east of the Cascades, at present your area is among the worst.”

On Wednesday, August 26, the smoke-filled sky that has blocked the sun and resembles a low-settled fog prompted the state’s Department of Ecology to warn of “very unhealthy” air quality in Pullman. In Idaho, air quality has been identified as equally bad in Moscow and Lewiston. People are being advised to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

A shift in wind direction late tonight should break up the smoke’s concentration over this area, said Loyd.

Media Contacts

Nic Loyd, WSU meteorologist, 509-786-9357
Linda Weiford, WSU News, 509-335-7209